Bobotie is the perfect dish to make if you enjoy a sweet-beefy-curry flavour profile. The mince filling is sweet and loaded with warm spices but when it’s served with turmeric rice and a simple tomato-onion salad, it’s game on!

It a dish for days where you need to make something the day before because, honestly, It’s the same as lasagna where the flavours just keep intensifying with time. So if there ends up being leftovers (which I doubt) it’ll be even tastier.

We all have our own versions of “traditional” recipes within our specific cuisines and Bobotie is definitely one of them. Some recipes call for almonds and/or raisins, some call for a curry paste and not curry powder, others call for apricot jam and not apricot chutney, but for me, I like preparing it in my own way, which isn’t too far from the traditional recipe. So, to keep things safe, I’ll just stay in this grey area where we’re not hung up on certain labels.

Some people prefer adding the raisins to the turmeric rice or you can add it to the bobotie as I did. Again, do whatever your tastebuds call for but try the below recipe (which is an absolute stunner in my eyes) and make any changes you’d like after that. Here’s a link to the chutney I use – every South African knows about Mrs Balls Chutney.

Notes: For this recipe I used quite a large dish, it was W26cm x L32cm x H8cm which means I could double the filling and it would fit perfectly. For a deeper result without doubling the filling I’d use a dish size of W22cm x L30cm x H8cm.

Check out the quick video below the recipes to see what you’ll be making!

South African Bobotie

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 2 slices white bread
  • 420ml whole milk, separated
  • 35g salted butter
  • 2 (450g) large white onions, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 6-8 dried bay leaves, separated
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 3-4 all spice berries, finely crushed
  • 1-2 whole cloves, finely crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 3 tbsp seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup apricot/peach chutney
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon *optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • Salt to taste
  • Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4/355F. Pour 120ml cold milk over the bread and mix until well combined. Set aside to soak.
    2. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic, ginger, 2 bay leaves and beef mince and stir well, crushing the mince into fine grains until it changes colour.
    3. Add in the mild curry powder, crushed all-spice, crushed cloves, white pepper, dried mixed herbs, raisins, apricot chutney, turmeric and 2 of the bay leaves. Mix until well combined. Add 1/2 cup water and juice from half a lemon (This is optional and depends on if you’d like to add a touch of acidity to the dish). Cook for around 5mins. I added about 1/2 tsp of salt when grinding the all-spice and cloves but you are able to salt to taste in the next step.
    4. Remove the mince mixture from the heat as well as the bay leaves. Add in the soaked bread and stir until well combined and season generously but according to your preference.
    5. Spread the mixture evenly into your ovenproof dish, ensuring it’s firmly pressed down and even on top.
    6. On a small bowl whisk together 2 large whole eggs and 300ml whole milk. Pour the mixture over the mince. Garnish with about 6 bay leaves, depending on the size dish you’re using and bake for 50mins-1hour or until the top is golden brown in colour.
    7. The bobotie can be served immediately. Serve with turmeric rice, simple a tomato-onion salsa/salad and another dollop of the chutney – enjoy tastebuds!

    Basic Turmeric Rice

    • Servings: 4-6
    • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1/2 Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Directions

    1. First, give the Jasmine rice a quick rinse.
    2. Put a large saucepan over high heat. Add the jasmine rice to the pot and give everything a stir. Cook for a couple of minutes until the edges start to turn translucent.
    3. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and partially cover. Allow the rice to simmer for 10mins.
    4. Remove from the heat and cover. Allow the rice to steam using the residual heat until fully cooked and any remaining heat has been absorbed.

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